Carmack: AMD’s claims for the Mantle API are “credible”


AMD flew a bunch of journalists to Hawaii late last month to announce a new range of graphics cards by the same name, and their new Mantle API. Mantle will circumvent DirectX11 entirely for supported games, which include Battlefield 4, and instead talk to the card directly. AMD expect notable performance improvements from their Graphics Core Next GPUs as a result.

Since then, the manufacturers have enjoyed a marketing push for Mantle no number of tickets to Hawaii could buy: the word of John Carmack.

Carmack tweeted that AMD have an “interesting opportunity” in Mantle, especially considering the place of their tech in both of the next-gen consoles due for imminent release – but doubted that Sony and Microsoft would be “very helpful”.

“Considering the boost Mantle could give to a steambox, MS and Sony may wind up being downright hostile to it,” he wrote.

Carmack further suggested that an API like AMD’s will only reach its potential with advancements that “aren’t possible at all now”.

“If you just port code that is efficient on GL or DX to a nativeish api, the per gain will be small,” he explained. “The win would be in allowing archs like continuous simultaneous use of buffers by both CPUs and GPUs. In some situations, this can be big.”

For the time being, however, Carmack will continue to use Mantle competitor OpenGL on PC, Mac and Linux, “since I’m not working on consoles now”.

“I won’t be writing any Mantle code in the near future,” he said. “9x draw calls is credible over stock D3D, but Nvidia OpenGL extensions can give similar improvements.”

Mantle already has the support of EA via its Frostbite 3 engine, which powers not only Battlefield but Dragon Age 3, Need for Speed: Rivals and the new Star Wars Battlefront. But at the moment, you’ll need to own a card from AMD’s 7000 series or the new Hawaii range to take advantage of it. Is that likely to be you in the near future?

Thanks, Neogaffers.